Platinum Age Comics
Among collectors of superhero comics, especially, one may hear people throw around the terms "Silver Age" and "Golden Age" when talking about particular titles and styles. For historians and die hard aficionados who debate whether funny papers and comic strips have a place in the discussion, the Platinum Age of Comics is a fascinating period, falling between 1897 and 1937, that encompasses multiple art styles, an international cadre of publishers, and even the births of famous comic characters who still appear in titles decades later.
What Are Some Characteristics of Platinum Age Comics?
The Platinum Age encompasses forty years of comic books and strips, and 40 years makes up multiple shifts in politics, fashion, and readership.
- Collections of Comic Strips: The first comic books and many to follow were collections of strips taken from the funny papers, with popular titles like The Yellow Kid, Bringing Up Father, and Mutt and Jeff. This is a trend we continue to see even in modern times in humor books. The first comic titles with original content would not hit shelves until the 1930's.
- Popular Cartoon Characters: While many characters in comic strips originated there, once the century turned and animation began, famous characters from cartoon serials got their own comics, from Popeye to Mickey Mouse.
- Evolving With the Times: While many titles conformed to certain characteristics, there were always exceptions and changing trends. For instance, color comics began with short runs in funny papers, with their popularity leading to corporate comic books and then comic strip reprints.
Why Collect These Comics?
The Platinum Age represents comics in some of its youngest and most underdeveloped forms. There are many reasons to add a few titles to your collection, including:
Increasing Value, if Cared For: In good condition, these are some of the most valuable comics you can find.
See Where Some of Your Favorites Began: Fans of Superman comics or even funnies like Blondie, just to name a couple of the most famous examples, will find the earliest titles in the Platinum Age, and collectors have a rare opportunity to see how still-famous characters began and how they've evolved.
A Piece of Comics History
When you bring antique comics into your collection, you are taking hold of a unique piece of history. The artists and writers behind these titles brought their perspectives and commentary on the state of their present, often with a touch of humor. It's an opportunity to attempt to see the world as one of their readers of the time would have, or even to think about what parts have changed or remained the same.